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Torquay United 1 Portsmouth 1

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Saturday October 26, 2013 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Torquay United Football Club, England  (map)

League Two Fixture

Pompey substitute Bird salvages a point

PHOTO: Ryan Bird congratulated by Ricky Holmes

Ryan Bird came off the bench to rescue a point for Pompey at Plainmoor.

It was always going to be an uphill battle for the Blues after they fell behind to Jordan Chappell’s strike in the very first minute.

But they controlled possession after that and Bird’s close-range finish saw them grab a deserved draw.

Guy Whittingham made two changes from the side that started the abandoned match against Wycombe on Tuesday night.

Simon Ferry replaced Thery Racon in the centre of midfield having fully recovered from the hamstring injury that has kept him sidelined for the last few weeks.

The other switch was an enforced one, with Shaun Cooper coming in for the suspended Sonny Bradley and Joe Devera moving to centre-back.

But Pompey got off to the worst possible start, falling behind just 17 seconds after kick-off.

Karl Hawley’s initial effort was blocked, but the ball fell straight into the path of Chappell, who coolly found the bottom corner.

The Blues had an immediate chance to equalise, although the visitors were livid that referee Andy Woolmer failed to play the advantage after Patrick Agyemang had been felled by Krystian Pearce.

Jed Wallace stepped up to take the free-kick and his 30-yard effort curled narrowly over the crossbar.

But Torquay were soon back on the attack and Devera breathed a sigh of relief when his sliced clearance flew straight into Trevor Carson’s arms.

Pompey improved as the half progressed, though, and Agyemang did brilliantly to control Ricky Holmes’ cross-field pass before seeing his low drive saved by Martin Rice.

But, despite showcasing some neat passing in the centre of the pitch, the Blues were finding chances hard to come by.

Ferry, in particular, looked bright in midfield, but was unable to help haul Pompey level at the break.

Instead, it was Torquay who went close to doubling their advantage in stoppage-time, with Paul McCallum firing wide after racing onto Hawley’s incisive pass.

Half Time: Torquay 1 Pompey 0

Torquay almost began the second half in the same fashion as the first, but Dale Tonge’s dangerous cross somehow evaded everyone on its way out of play.

Jak McCourt then drilled a shot wide from distance as the hosts tried to take advantage of Pompey’s rustiness.

The Blues did start to take control, however, making use of the fact that the strong wind was now blowing in their favour.

But Wallace could only blaze high over the crossbar after the ball fell kindly for him on the edge of the box.

Johnny Ertl then stung the fingertips of Rice with a powerful low drive from distance on 62 minutes.

That was the skipper’s final contribution, however, as he was replaced by Andy Barcham in an attacking switch moments later.

Wallace moved to a central role and Rice had to come tearing off his line to prevent the teenager from reaching the ball on 70 minutes.

He had another great chance seconds later, but did not have time to adjust his feet to control Yassin Moutaouakil’s cut-back and fired over.

Torquay almost made sure of the victory soon after, however, with Ade Azeez traring through on goal and bending a shot just past the post.

Whittingham then made his second switch, as Bird came off the bench to replace John Marquis up front.

But it was Barcham who tested Rice on 80 minutes, although his shot took a huge deflection to take the pace off it and aid Rice.

BIRD did grab the equaliser moments later, meeting Wallace’s low cross with a shot that just about crept over the line.

Pompey pushed forward in search of a late winner, but had to be content with leaving Devon with a point.

Torquay (4-2-3-1): Rice; Tonge, Pearce, O’Connor, Nicholson; McCourt, Mansell; Azeez, Hawley, Chappell (Cameron 83); McCallum (Mozika 74)
Goals: Chappell 1
Subs not used: Poke, Cruise, Craig, Sullivan, Benyon

Pompey (4-4-2): Carson; Moutaouakil, N’Gala, Devera, Cooper; Wallace, Ertl (c) (Barcham 65), Ferry (Racon 81), Holmes; Marquis (Bird 76), Agyemang
Goals: Bird 81
Booked: Marquis, Cooper
Subs not used: Smith, East, Mahon, Padovani

Referee: Andy Woolmer

Attendance: 3,843 (1,497 Pompey fans)

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